Digital PR and traditional PR: combining approaches for a supercharged promotion strategy

Abbi Connor

As the marketing world moves increasingly online, traditional methods of brand promotion need to become more digitally-focused to yield results. Whether the end goal is increased sales, boosted brand visibility or better search engine results page (SERP) rankings, incorporating digital PR techniques into a promotion strategy will help to nail those targets.

Digital PR combines the promotion of traditional PR and the traffic and ranking focus of SEO to ensure optimal online brand visibility. This is not to say that one is better than the other; both have their strengths and their place depending on brand priorities and business objectives. What we’re seeing an increasing amount of, and what can work well, is recognising the strengths of both and combining the two to create a robust strategy that maximises brand reach, boosts reputation and increases visibility.

Digital PR + traditional PR = a match made in heaven

If you know you want to start working with a digital PR team but already have your traditional promotion strategy secured, how can you make sure you’re getting the optimum out of each approach without significant compromise? If both teams are clear on their objectives and communicate openly, it creates the ideal foundation needed to create an effective strategy that utilises the best assets of each team.

The SEO-based tactics of digital PR can be used to optimise traditional PR practices such as business announcements and product launches. By ensuring traditional PR materials are adjusted for link building, you can make the most of your journalist contacts, reputation and media strategy whilst ensuring that your materials provide journalists with a link to useful information for their readers. This proves that your client is a reliable and useful source of information, giving them a vote of confidence not just from the journalist, but from Google as well. Alternatively, digital PR content can be included within traditional PR releases, ensuring maximum brand visibility across channels and verticals.

Teams can work together to produce landing pages, content for product launches and press packs for events which can tick boxes for everyone, growing brand visibility, audience engagement and SERP ranking. This method of content production both gives journalists what they want and diversifies and expands the audience reach, resulting in happy journalists, happy customers and a happy client.

How can you make it work for you?

If you’re considering incorporating some cross-PR team synergy into your promotion strategy, we recommend focusing on two main things to guarantee you’re making the most of both teams’ best qualities:

  1. Communication – Open communication is crucial from the get-go. Establishing a strong relationship between teams is the best way to ensure work is aligned with business interests in mind. We recommend getting started with an onboarding or kick-off call, followed by monthly or quarterly calls to make sure teams are keeping abreast of each other’s progress.
  2. Collaboration – A collaborative environment is where the best results can flourish. Conducting combined team meetings such as joint ideations can help teams exchange creative ideas and keep up to date with each other’s campaign progress. Sharing content calendars and quarterly road maps ensures that planned content and campaign releases can be supported across teams, and that knowledge is shared and used. The sharing of media lists or having a master list that both can edit makes each team aware of who has existing contacts at certain publications and journalists. This makes outreach more effective as established relationships are then leveraged to optimise either the coverage or link building potential of content and campaigns.

How do we do it at Builtvisible?

At Builtvisible, we work alongside several of our clients’ in-house or external PR teams to build out holistic PR strategies that ensure we’re working together to maximise our capabilities and get the best results for our clients. One of our travel clients recently launched a big sale that was outreached by their traditional PR team and covered by many regional press outlets. The Builtvisible digital PR team consulted our coverage report and performed some savvy link reclamation, sweeping up opportunities for links to be built to relevant product pages. In the same month, our team wrote a seasonal blog post aiming to build some links to a target URL, which was included in the traditional PR team’s seasonal content release. This boosted the visibility of the piece and increased traffic potential to the priority page, as well as improving visibility of the client’s blog by seeding it to channels that might not have been on our radar.

With a growing number of brands recognising the benefits of integrating their digital and traditional PR strategies, there’s no time like the present to consider doing the same.  Want to know more about how Builtvisible can help you boost your strategy with a combined PR approach? Feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below!

A-Z of digital PR terminology

We use lots of jargon in the digital PR world which can be alienating to those not in the know. In advance of working with a new digital PR team or taking part in the training we run with inhouse teams, getting up to scratch on some SEO terminology is a useful first step towards thinking with a digital hat on. A shared lexicon helps bring traditional and digital PR professionals together so that we can work with each other effectively.

To help you to get a grasp on the basics that will prove to be the most valuable on your digital PR quest, we’ve put together the below A-Z list of terminology to help you get started. Whilst digital PR has multiple KPIs, these have an SEO focus, meaning that they’re probably the least familiar to a traditional PR pro and are therefore a great place to begin.

Backlinks- the good, the bad and the highly relevant

Although backlinks aren’t the be-all and end-all of digital PR, link building forms the foundation of any digital PR strategy and many of the terms below make more sense when thought about with them in mind. A backlink is a link from a page on one website (the linking root domain) to another. These links could point to any page, but most common are campaign pages, product pages or homepages. To put it into a PR context, you might find a backlink pointing to your client’s site in a piece of coverage on an online publication. If the link is of a high quality, it signifies to Google that the page is trustworthy, acting as a small SEO boost for the site and, ultimately, improving its ability to rank in SERPs.

But how do we know if a link is of a high quality or not? Google uses a variety of markers but a couple of the most important are:

Now that we’ve cleared that up, you should have the context you need to get to grips with the rest.

Citation Flow

A score from 1-100 given by SEO tool Majestic to a website based on its popularity with other sites. The number predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites are linking to it. Citation flow is one of 2 trust metric scores given to a URL, along with its partner metric Trust Flow.

Domain Authority (DA)

A metric score given by Moz to a website based on its likelihood to rank on a search engine results page (SERP). The score ranges from 1-100, and the higher a website scores, the higher its ability to rank. A link from a site with a high DA score is more valuable, as it signals to Google that the site is giving an authoritative vote of confidence. Examples of high-DA sites: BBC, CNN, Forbes.

Engagement

Reads, likes, follows, shares. The more a piece of content is engaged with, the more chance it will be seen by a wider audience, resulting in further brand reach, coverage, links and an increase in potential new customers.

Follow Link

We discussed backlinks earlier and the SEO boost that is given to a page if a journalist places a link to it in a piece of content. This boost happens when link equity is passed from the referring domain to the site that is linked. A link with a ‘follow’ tag signifies to google that this equity can be passed through.

Link Equity

The amount of SEO value that is passed from one site to another through a backlink. If the linking root domain is a high-quality site, value will be passed from that site to the site being linked to. The greater value, the bigger boost the linked site will be given, and the more likely it is to rank.

Link Metrics

A collective term referring to the criteria for ranking search results. They reflect how a page is performing, and exist to indicate its authority, relevance and trustworthiness (Domain Authority, Trust Flow etc.)

Linking Root Domain (LRD)

External domains that are linking through to a URL. A website can link to one URL multiple times throughout the site, meaning that there is often a disparity between the number of backlinks a URL has, and its number of LRDs.

Nofollow Link

A link that is placed within a piece of content using the nofollow HTML tag, which looks like this:

<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

This tag prevents link equity from being passed through to the linked site. Despite this, Google is now recognising a nofollow link as an SEO ranking factor, it’s just a lower-value ‘vote’ than a follow link.

Ranking

The position that a site has on a search engine results page (SERP). The higher the ranking, the more likely a user will click on the site. Digital PR tactics like link-building help to boost a site’s ranking.

SERP

Search engine results page. The page that pops up when you type a word or query into the bar of a search engine. As well as providing a list of URLs, SERPs can pull up news results, weather reports, images, shopping recommendations and features such as “people also ask”.

Trust Flow

A score from 1-100 given by SEO tool Majestic to a website based on the “trustworthiness” of other sites that are linking to it. If a page has 50 sites linking to it, but they all have low Trust Flow scores, the Trust Flow score of the page itself will be low. It’s therefore important to build links to a page on high-value sites, as it will increase the Trust Flow score of that page and signify to Google that it’s trustworthy, resulting in a higher SERP ranking.

Unlinked mention

Any mention of a brand that does not contain a hyperlink to a page on the brand’s website. Converting unlinked brand mentions to linked brand mentions is a simple tactic that can be used to increase and diversify a domain’s backlink profile.


Armed with this list, you’ll now be ready to start thinking about your own promotion strategy more digitally, or to begin having conversations with some digital PR professionals to build out a dream combination team of your own. If you think this could be useful, or if you have anything to add to the list, let us know in the comments below!

Leave a comment


Join the Inner Circle

Industry leading insights direct to your inbox every month.